Saturday, April 28, 2012

Witnesses want convicts to be tried for conspiracy

They claim the massacre was pre-planned to kill members of the minority communityl Sardarpura riot case
DNA Correspondent | Ahmedabad
Witnesses of Sardarpura massacre case have demanded sentencing of convicts in the case under charges of conspiracy. Talking to media persons on Thursday, the witnesses alleged that it was a pre-planned conspiracy to kill people of the minority community in Sardarpura village in Mehsana district. 

Gulam Ali, one of the witnesses, claimed that on the eve of February 27, 2002, while working near Jain temple, he had heard two accused, Maganlal and Becharbhai, passing a remark that they would kill Muslims.

Another witness, Bashirabibi Shaikh, claimed that when she had gone to the shop of one Dahyabhai, he allegedly told her that she would be killed. Other witnesses also claimed that the streets lights of Sheikh Mohalla, where the massacre happened, were repaired and switched on a day before the incident. 

Teesta Setalvad of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), an NGO fighting for communal riots, said, "We have moved a petition challenging the verdict of the Sardarpura riots in which the lower court has not upheld the theory of conspiracy." 

She further said, "There are many witnesses who came on record and gave statements and testimony in the court that established the fact that the killing at Sheikh Mohalla was pre-planned. The SIT will establish the theory of conspiracy in the appeal filed before the HC." 

The petition before the HC cited statements of many witnesses. Sabirmiya Akhumiya Pathan, one of the witnesses, stated that Haresh Bhatt, a leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, had come to the village and held a meeting at Mahadev Temple (the place from where the crowd came on the night of the event). "A meeting of Patel youth was held where Bhatt gave an instigating lecture," Pathan said. 

In November last year, the designated court had awarded life imprisonment to 31 accused while acquitting 42.